Do you ever get the feeling that you're just a piece of meat? That all you are to some big company or store is a statistic, a dollar sign? Sure, they might treat you real nice while you're shopping but that's because the hard part is already over. You're already in the store and they know chances are pretty good that you'll walk out with something.

The reason that's true is marketing. From advertising to creating a buzz to inventing a need where one never existed, marketers are nothing more than legal versions of thieves.

An article at cnn.money.com shows how marketers have figured out how to get you to spend more for things when the cheaper version works just as well.

Previously, where we might have only seen a basic toothbrush for $2.29 and the rechargeable model for $109.99, now we see the mid-range model for $6.99, which both the middle and upper class consumers are buying."

The marketing people even have a name for these people, the mass affluent.

The mass affluent are those individuals who fall between the middle class and the wealthiest of consumers. They usually have money to spend and are willing to pay for quality, performance - or life's little indulgences..."

But the problem is that you really aren't paying for all that much more quality or performance. Really, what is the difference if you buy a toothbrush for $2.29 or $6.99? Both are going to get your teeth clean but one is also going to clean out your wallet as well.

Companies and marketers have figured out that we will give up a lot in terms of real wealth in order to project fake wealth. That's why Mercedes has lower cost models available now. You might not be able to afford the 80 or 90 thousand dollar version but the 30k version might be doable.

"Having done extensive research on this mass affluent demographic, MasterCard launched its World MasterCard card in May to specifically reach this group said Nicole Risafi, vice president of global product for MasterCard.

"'From our banks' perspective it is a very attractive segment,' said Nicole. 'They have money to spend, they tend to use credit cards and they are also very appealing because they offer banks substantial cross-sell opportunites.'"

It sounds to me like she's saying hey these people have the money, they don't save it and they are really suckers. Don't be a sucker. Spend your money wisely.